Do you find yourself scrolling through your travel photos wistfully? You've got the travel blues, my friend. Combat them with these very creative online opportunities to connect with others around the world!
Who would have guessed this would be my last trip before the world turned upside down? Not me.
I am clearly so happy in this picture. I am 100% in my element: in a colorful and festive public place, surrounded by endless opportunities to meet other people and have new adventures. My definition of HEAVEN!!
People travel for so many reasons. What drives YOU to travel?
Is it to see famous landmarks and learn history? Is it to try different kinds of food and learn ways to prepare new dishes? Take a deep dive into a culture and become one with the locals? Is it to find a beautiful quiet beach to plop down on and read a book? Or maybe to see a live show, or to party and gamble? No no, I'm not judging!
Some dear friends of ours love birding. Therefore their travels are focused on places around the globe one can see rare bird breeds. Another couple does volunteer work wherever they are needed, so their vacations always take place in developing countries and piggy-back onto an already scheduled mission trip nearby.
You get my point. Basically, what I’m saying is, what brings me that “heavenly” feeling may not be (and probably isn’t) what brings you yours.
Many of us are feeling pretty disappointed right now – seriously, is there anything worse than canceling flights, hotels, and other travel reservations?? I've died a little bit inside. every. time.
But I’m discovering something amazing… There are still ways to get your own heaven back, even just for a little while.
Here are some of my current favorite ways to combat the travel blues. I’m sure this is just scratching the surface, and that every day more options will appear. But I'm sure you can find something here that will help ease your suffering!
The Nomadic Network
This wonderful organization (of which I am Leader of the coolest chapter ever, in Portland, Oregon) was created to bring travelers together in person with other travelers within their home cities. It was launched just a few months ago and quickly established chapters all over the world!
But then, yeah, COVID-19 happened. So now it’s global members can connect online through "virtual meet-ups" with various travel-related topics of discussion. One of my favorites is the upcoming How to travel hack when you can't travel! because I'm a little obsessive about this topic myself.
Airbnb Online Experiences
I’m a massive fan of all things Airbnb, and this new virtual option is AMAZING.
All over the world, two kinds of people are emerging. First, there are those who miss traveling terribly (um, that's us). Second, there are those who worked in the travel or entertainment industry who have had their income streams come screeching to a HALT. Total panic time.
Because of this, many of these people have gotten very creative, very quickly. They have made their services, their talents, their extensive skills, available to us online thru Airbnb.
This platform connects you, as you sit in your living room, with wonderfully talented people around the world. Here is a short list of a few really random (and also really popular) Online Experiences that you could be booking right now:
Wine Class with a Cool Wine Expert in Porto, Portugal
Get Inside Tokyo Anime & Subcultures in Tokyo, Japan
Zoom Around Paris on a Panoramic Tour in Paris, France – (I just did this, and it was so fun!!)
Live Icelandic Guitar Concert in Reykjavik, Iceland
The Secrets of Hollywood Sound Effects in Hollywood, California
Meet the Dogs of Chernobyl in Chernobyl, Ukraine (I can't believe this is a thing)
New Orleans Bounce and Twerk with MoeJoe in New Orleans, Louisiana
Luca & Lorenzo, Our Family Pasta Recipe in Lastra a Signa, Italy
I…... can’t………. stop! There are endless opportunities!! All of these things, all of these people, literally connecting with you while you sit on your sofa. Seriously, anyone who knows me knows this stuff is like crack for me. I want to book everything! 😊
Cooking on Instagram Live
With restaurants closed, so many chefs have taken their Instagram social media presence from still photos and stories, to LIVE video. This allows them to not only broadcast directly to users in real-time but also the ability to interact with viewers. Some of my personal favorites are Massimo Bottura's #KitchenQuarantine, at home every evening with his family in Modena, Italy, and Vitaly Paley of Paley’s Place cooking live every Friday night (right here in Portland!).
Maybe you'd like to "visit" Thailand and make coconut sticky rice with shrimp & cilantro and papaya salad? Or maybe Sevilla, Spain, making empanadillas and caramel-drizzled flan? Check out Hipcooks cooking schools. They have brick-and-mortar locations around the country, but they now offer online courses!
(Bonus: They offer a free Instagram Live cocktail-making class every Saturday at 4pm!)
Keep the Faith
All of these wonderfully creative ways to connect with others online have really, really made a difference for me as I navigate my disappointment over not being able to travel. Having the ability to create and build relationships with others across the world has brightened my spirits and kept me feeling more connected.
And there's a bonus! Maybe I’ll see some of these people again in future travels. Who knows?
As Herbert, my Paris “tour guide,” told our group as we signed off, “Please promise me, if you ever come to Paris, you’ll contact me! I will give you any tour that you want – a food tour, a wine tour, a museum tour, a shopping tour, a history tour, any tour!”
You get his point, and yes, I will absolutely look him up on my next visit to Paris!
If you are a traveler and are struggling with the travel blues right now, explore some of these options. And if you have more, please tell me!
I might very well see you at a future live session:)
Happy (virtual) travels!